This week episode, Dean becomes a lot meaner. Sam worried about this condition and I feel that Dean somehow want to blow off some steam about his brother declaration on the previous episode. Also, we got to meet for one more time, GhostFacers!! credit to betterwithpopcorn.com
This week SPN welcomes back some favourite reoccurring characters, the hilarious Ed and Harry of Ghostfacers. In the past these two, and their occasional team of interns, have been a barrel of laughs. Fair warning though, if you go into this episode looking for levity, you’re in for a shock.
Sam and Dean catch wind of a case where a girl dies in a locked room. The only clue is a menacing faceless figure in the background of the victim’s selfie, posted hours after her death. When interviewing the girl’s mother, they discover that they aren’t the only ones on the case – ghostfacers are back in town.
From the ghostfacers, Sam and Dean learn about the legend of the Thinman, a mysterious teleporting monster that stalks his victims on the edges of their lives before he kills them. They have been chasing this creature for years, to great personal sacrifice, and they are thrilled to be closing in like this. What Harry doesn’t know though, is that Ed made the Thinman up in an attempt to revitalize the Ghostfacer mission and stop Harry from moving on with his life. His lies turn deadly though when two of their followers decide to make the monster into a reality.
First off, I cannot believe how incredibly sad that episode was. How dare they lull me into a false sense of security like that! It was an amazing episode though, and perhaps the fact that it managed to take me by surprise like that is what made it so effective.
This season has been full of mirrors, but none of them have been quite as effective as Harry and Ed playing out Sam and Dean’s partnership breakdown. Yes, it wasn’t very subtle, but I don’t think that was the point here. What this episode did was show us the exact nature of Dean’s betrayal of Sam, without the context of family bonds, or Sam’s past mistakes. It really solidified my feelings and views of what has happened between them.
The argument could be made that the parallels were really heavy handed and clumsy. It would be tough to dispute that, they were not subtle at all. However, I feel that this is necessary to get to the meat of the problem here. I’ve seen some people online complaining that Dean is being really unfairly represented in the parallels with the ghostfacers. What Ed did was purely selfish. He stopped his friend from getting married and lied to him just to keep him around, whereas Dean saved Sam’s life. I’ve seen people say things like “since when is saving people a bad thing?”
It’s a bad thing when people do not want to be saved. In actual fact there is very little difference between what Ed did and what Dean did. Ed lied to Harry to stop him from leaving him behind. His lie at first seemed harmless, but had very serious consequences, leading to death, physical harm to Harry and forcing Harry to kill someone. When asked why he would do this, he kept repeating “I was saving you!” and Harry’s very reasonable response was “From what?”.
In Ed’s mind he knew what Harry wanted better than him. He knew that he would be miserable if he ended up in a corporate job, if he had to move on to this more serious adult life phase. He was also terrified of Harry getting married because he would be going into something that Ed couldn’t follow him into, and leaving Ed behind.
Getting married and growing up are natural life phases in the same way that dying is. Dean saved Sam not because Sam wanted saving (much the opposite), he saved Sam because he couldn’t let him move on when he was not ready or able to follow him.
It is a reoccurring problem in the brother’s relationship that they keep each other from growing and moving on. When Dean shows up at Stanford in the pilot, he tries to convince Sam to leave behind his college life for him. When Dean finds out that Sam is back from the Cage, he leaves behind Lisa and Ben and the normal life he made for himself, and follows Sam back into the life (at Sam’s request). When Dean returns from purgatory, he refuses to hear that Sam has made a life for himself and that he is truly content to leave hunting. The only chance either of them get for normalcy or development seems to involve the other one dying. It’s becoming a whole big “neither can live while the other survives” dilemma.
The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way. If they can be honest with each other, if Dean can see Sam as a person and an equal instead of a little brother, if Dean can find something inside himself to live for that is separate from his role as a big brother and protector, and if Sam can stop with the silent treatment and actively contribute to forging a healthier dynamic.
Stepping away from their relationship for a moment, I would like to say that I am deeply worried for Dean. I can’t believe that he killed that guy like that. He could’ve disarmed him, but instead he made him stab himself. He has killed people in self defence before, or accidentally or indirectly, but never with so much intent and so many other options. It was a very dark, scary side of him. He’s really starting to unravel. You could see that Sam wanted to talk to him about it but couldn’t because of the strain between them. I wonder if this is a side effect of the Mark of Cain?
It wasn’t just about how he straight up murdered the dude either. Dean was cold and cruel throughout this entire episode. Sure, the threats to the ghostfacers was nothing new, but he was a lot meaner about it this time, and he got physical pretty often. Dean is a character that regularly says thoughtless things, the embodiment of the cool guy in high school who pretty much stopped developing after, but this time his remarks feel more calculated. He is isolating himself from people emotionally as well as physically. If someone, Sam or Cas, doesn’t do something to break through to him soon, I’m afraid that we’ll see him become the kind of monster he was during his hell years, or the thoughtless killing machine from purgatory.